Mercedes-Benz has lifted the veil off of a natural gas-powered version of the B-Class.Â Dubbed B200 Natural Gas Drive, the efficient family hauler will greet the public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
Save for a couple of model-specific emblems and LED daytime running lamps, the B200 NGD is almost identical to the regular B200 inside and out.Â It is the first vehicle to make use of Mercedes' innovative Energy Space modular body concept, which allows a big gas tank and two smaller units to be stored under the rear seats.Â Â Overall, 33 gallons (46 pounds) of natural gas are stored without compromising passenger or luggage room.
Packing 156 horsepower, the natural gas-burning B200 can reach 62 mph from a stop in 9.1 seconds and go on to a top speed of 124 miles per hour.Â To put these numbers into perspective, the gasoline-burning B200 does zero to 62 mph in 8.6 seconds and maxes out at about 136 mph.
Official fuel economy figures are not available yet but Mercedes predicts that the B200 NGD will cost its owner about 50 percent less per kilometer than a comparable gasoline-burning model, though it should be noted that in many parts of Europe natural gas sells for about half the price of regular gasoline.
After its debut in Paris, the 2013 B200 Natural Gas Drive will go on sale across Europe early next year.Â Pricing information will be released closer to the car's launch.Â At the time of writing Mercedes does not plan on offering the car in the United States, where it prefers to focus on hybrid cars.